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EMBO J. 1999 Jan 4;18(1):75-84.

Compartmentation of protein folding in vivo: sequestration of non-native polypeptide by the chaperonin-GimC system.

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The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, CRC Beatson Laboratories, Glasgow G61 1BD, UK.


The functional coupling of protein synthesis and chaperone-assisted folding in vivo has remained largely unexplored. Here we have analysed the chaperonin-dependent folding pathway of actin in yeast. Remarkably, overexpression of a heterologous chaperonin which traps non-native polypeptides does not interfere with protein folding in the cytosol, indicating a high-level organization of folding reactions. Newly synthesized actin avoids the chaperonin trap and is effectively channelled from the ribosome to the endogenous chaperonin TRiC. Efficient actin folding on TRiC is critically dependent on the hetero-oligomeric co-chaperone GimC. By interacting with folding intermediates and with TRiC, GimC accelerates actin folding at least 5-fold and prevents the premature release of non-native protein from TRiC. We propose that TRiC and GimC form an integrated 'folding compartment' which functions in cooperation with the translation machinery. This compartment sequesters newly synthesized actin and other aggregation-sensitive polypeptides from the crowded macromolecular environment of the cytosol, thereby allowing their efficient folding.

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